Video: Making Pavlova

August 28, 2014 · 4 comments

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Here’s a light and delicious summer dessert that’s an impressive alternative to a cake or a pie.  Pavlova is a treat that originated, I think, in Australia and is named, they say, after a famous ballerina.  But whatever the origin, it’s a delight.  A pillow of sweet meringue –crisp on the outside, marshmallow-like on the inside is topped with a cloud of unsweetened whipped cream and piled high with fresh fruit.  The combination of flavors and textures is fantastic.

It’s also nearly foolproof.  The only catch is that you need to make the meringue well in advance so that it can cool completely (and slowly) before you use it.  Do this the morning or day before, though, and you can pull this showy dessert together in minutes. (The meringue will keep well in an airtight container –or a cold oven– for a couple of days.)

Here are two short videos.  The first shows how to make the meringue, and the second covers the toppings.

Recipe follows.



2 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon distilled vinegar

1 tablespoon orange flower water (or vanilla extract)

8 egg whites, at room temperature

1 cup heavy cream, cold

1/2 cup plain yoghurt, cold (not Greek style)

fresh berries

mint, for garnish


1.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

2.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and draw a circle on it using a 9″ cake pan.  Flip it over (to avoid getting ink on your meringue).

3.  In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, vinegar and flavoring until smooth.  Set aside.

4.  With an electric mixer, beat the sugar and egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Then add the cornstarch mixture and beat until very firm and glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes more.

5.  Using a rubber spatula, spread the meringue onto the parchment, more or less following the circular guide you have drawn.

6.  Put the meringue into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 215F.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Then, turn off the oven and let the meringue sit in the oven until cooled completely, 3-4 hours.

7.  Carefully peel off the parchment and transfer the meringue to a plate or cake stand.  (Don’t worry if it cracks — you’re about to cover it with whipped cream.)

8.  With an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the cream and yoghurt until stiff peaks form.  Spread over the cooled meringue and top with the fresh berries and mint.  Serve immediately.

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